Ammonia fuel system design cleared for Eidesvik’s offshore vessel

Ammonia fuel system design developed by a consortium co-ordinated by the Norwegian cluster organization NCE Maritime CleanTech as part of a project aiming to install an ammonia-powered fuel cell on an offshore vessel has received preliminary approval.

Courtesy of ShipFC H2020 Project

The approval, which marks a major milestone for the ShipFC H2020 Project, was granted by the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the project developers said in a social media post on July 4.

The ShipFC project set out to retrofit an offshore vessel Viking Energy, which is owned and operated by Norwegian company Eidesvik and on contract to energy major Equinor, with a large 2 MW ammonia fuel cell, allowing it to sail on the clean fuel for up to 3,000 hours annually.

Described as the world’s first LNG-fueled cargo vessel, the 2003-built PSV is equipped with four Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines, enabling it to run on LNG and marine diesel oil. The vessel is 94.9 meters long and 20.4 meters wide, with an LNG tank capacity of 220 cubic meters. Just recently, Equinor executed a five-year contract extension with Eidesvik for this platform supply vessel (PSV).

According to the project consortium, this is the first time an ammonia-powered fuel-cell will be installed on a vessel. In 2020, the project won €10 million in backing from the EU’s Research and Innovation program Horizon 2020 under its Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

The project’s goal is also to ensure that a large fuel cell can deliver total electric power to shipboard systems safely and effectively. A significant part of the project will be the scale-up of a 100 KW fuel cell to 2 MW.

Another part of the ShipFC project will perform studies on three other vessel types, namely offshore construction vessels and two cargo vessel types, to illustrate the ability to transfer this technology to other segments of the shipping industry.

In 2021, Eidesvik entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Norwegian oil company Aker BP and Alma, a venture under establishment by Clara Venture Labs, to explore retrofit installation of Alma’s ammonia fuel cell technology on two offshore support vessels (OSVs) — Eidesvik-owned Viking Lady and Aker BP-owned NS Frayja currently under Eidesvik’s management.